Hello to all my ADHD peeps, and ADHD loved ones living with ADHD today we are going to talk about one of my biggest mistakes I made when I was younger. This wasn’t a split-second decision but a mistake that I made over and over. It is still one of my biggest regrets and I hope this story sheds a little light on why we always have to be cognizant of what we are doing.
As always, I am going to start with a back story so we can get an idea of what is going on and how I ended up losing out on one my best friendships that I have ever had in my life. To respect this person’s privacy and maintain anonymity I will be referring to them in this story with the name Jane.
Here we go.
I start freshmen year in high school, and I am playing sports and maintaining friendships pretty well. Soccer definitely was able to help keep my hyperactivity down because once school was out, I immediately had soccer practice. I have always had an internal drive to be the best I could be, so I always worked to my full extent at these practices, wearing myself out by the end. During my freshmen year, for the first time in my life, I start to lose my love of sports. My coach isn’t the greatest coach and I disagree with a lot of the decisions that he is making. A lot of these decisions were ensuring that players that are seniors play even if they are bad because it is their last chance. This leads to me falling out of love with sports the first time in my life. I end up making the hard decision that I am not going to continue playing soccer the next year because the frustration I’ve experienced outweighs my love of the game.
I make this decision near the end of the soccer season in freshmen year, and pretty quickly afterwards I start acting up more, since I am no longer burning the energy that I was before because now during practice I just start going through the motions rather than try my best. My acting up in classes and not paying attention really starts here. My friend group started to get smaller during this time because I became aware of my soccer friends judging my decision and other friends were frustrated that I have been angrier and more hyper lately. During all of this tumult one person never judges me and actually becomes a best friend and someone I know that I can confide in. This person is Jane. In my yearbook during this time Jane says “Hey Mike!!! It’s been total fun hangin with you!!! We should hang out this summer!!! Love ur BF4L, Jane <3.”
Sidetrack really quick, pull out your old yearbooks. Some of the signatures in there are absolutely hilarious. Let me know if you want me to do a post on just what my old books say they are pretty out there. Anyway…
Funny thing is me and Jane didn’t start out as best friends. At first, she actually really disliked me because I was the annoying hyper kid in English class who constantly messed with her (in my defense she gave one of the best reactions). But somehow, after I started becoming more of a hyperactive kid something changed in our acquaintanceship. She started to become someone that I could talk with whenever I was having a bad day. When I wanted to talk a little bit more about the things that were going on, I went to Jane and she really understood where I was coming from. Jane developed into a great friend and as time went on, we became best friends.
Over the next couple months, we hung out more and more and we started to develop a friendship that would rival any of the ones that I keep now.
Cut into sophomore year we are tighter than ever I will summarize the yearbook post because it is two pages long. “Thanks for helping me get through my first heart break. You are a great friend and I don’t want to lose you. I am so happy you are in my life… You will always be the one I come to when I need someone or need to smile or laugh. Whenever you need someone remember I am here for you.” We had a great year this year and this is the year I really solidified my friend group. It wasn’t a lot of people, but the people that were involved in my friend group were some of the closest people I have ever been friends with.
Funny enough we used to mess around in chemistry class and they had those big faucets that shoot a ton of water if you turn them up full blast. Me and one of my friends used to turn on the ones in front of Jane really slightly so she would turn them off. Well, one time she turned the faucet the wrong way and it shot water all over the place. I remember laughing for most of the class because I couldn’t stop thinking about scrambling to turn off this faucet while water is shooting everywhere.
We ended up spending the next couple years being great friends and as time went on Jane became one of the best people that I could turn to when anything was going on. If I ever ended up coming up with a stupid idea, I would run it by Jane and usually she would convince me not to do it, but on occasion Jane would be down to cause some mayhem. I remember being the first person to try and teach Jane how to drive a stick. Do you know how hard it is to teach someone how to drive a stick when you yourself just learned a few short months ago. I’m down to try anything once though and it was absolutely a bad idea. I remember how fun it was watching Jane struggle to understand what I am saying because I keep fumbling on words because I don’t even know what I am trying to say because everything is happening so fast.
We had great times together and senior year was a little more rough, but it was all manageable stuff. Jane ended up dating one of my best friends in Junior year and they had a pretty bad breakup and I got stuck in the middle of both of them. My one friend kept telling me over and over that I needed to separate myself from her because you have to stick with the guys. At first, I ended up separating from Jane a little bit, but after a while I realized that I was making a bad mistake and cut ties with this old friend and reunited with Jane.
This whole story sounds like a great friendship and honestly it was my best friendship that I have ever had in my life, so how did I screw it up? Yes that is where we are at I screwed up the friendship and honestly I didn’t deserve the amount of chances that Jane gave to me, but we will jump into that.
I believe my ADHD was made a lot worse while I was in the military because a lot of the bad things that I did while I was in the military were rewarded with more high fives than you can imagine. Calling people at three in the morning just to say Wazzzzzup like the old Bud Light commercials was a riot around the crew in the military. This meant that I had free reign to become anyone that I wanted to be and for a while when I was in the military I made bad choices. I ended up screwing around and I developed ideas that I was actually working while a lot of my old friends from school were just wasting their time. I developed a superiority complex. I was in the military and a bunch of my friends were still working dead end jobs or waiting for school to start. Just how hard could going to school be, I end up living out in the wilderness and I only have what I have on my back to survive. After time I ended up becoming jaded. I was upset with my choices. When I first joined the military, I had a lot of friends that told me we will make sure to contact you while you are away, but out of all of them only Jane did.
I would sit up at night wondering what all my friends were doing. Most of them were developing long term relationships. Lots of them were in college reaching goals that they set for themselves and here I was stagnant and stuck in the military. I wasn’t getting praise and I ended up hating the times that I had to work and loving the time that I had off because in my mind I could create this persona that I was happy even when I wasn’t. I would talk to Jane and I wanted Jane to be impressed with everything that I was doing. I would tell Jane about how hard things were, I would only talk about myself. Whenever Jane would end up bringing up things about her life, I would shut them down and marginalize them. I wanted to impress Jane and I thought that telling her all the things that I was doing was going to impress her and maybe allow me to get some of my old life back. Instead, Jane finally pushed back a little bit and told me that I don’t listen.
Jane was 100 percent right and I knew that she was right, but I was thinking like an idiot during this time, and I spun the argument back at her and told her that she just doesn’t understand. I ended up arguing back with Jane because for one I wasn’t thinking and two, in the military you fight everything. If you are losing an argument in the military, it’s not uncommon to just start beating up one another. Ask my old roommate about when we almost broke his futon while we were throwing each other around the room because we disagreed over something stupid like which room we were going to game in.
While I’m explaining this please keep in mind, I’m not making excuses for my behavior, just explaining it.
All throughout my childhood my Mom would tell me to ‘think before you speak.’ During this time of my life, I could have really used this advice because I wasn’t following it that is for sure. Jane and I ended up arguing for a long time and neither of us were happy with one another. We took a little bit of time off from being friends, the friendship wasn’t over, but we needed space from one another. At this point I have no civilian friends and all of the friends that I have are in the military and are definitely not always the greatest influence.
One day after coming back from the field I decide to message Jane and see what is going on. Jane surprisingly answers my text and we talk for a bit. It’s not long before we get into another argument and this is what our friendship becomes for a while. After a couple months of talking again, we get into yet another argument about me not listening. I end up getting bored of the conversation because at this point, I am a jerk and a bad friend.
The final conversation and argument we had was when she announced that she really liked this new guy. I knew this guy from high school and didn’t like him and didn’t think he was good for her. I immediately told her that I didn’t like him. A piece of me felt like this was someone new moving in on the last truly “normal” relationship I had left from high school. I felt like this was the breaking point and I became vindictive. I ended up telling her just how I felt about this guy. I compared this guy with past relationships she had and I threw tons of things into her face from her past.
This was our last conversation and honestly to this day I wish I could talk all of this back. I was an idiot. I ended up saying so many things I shouldn’t have. I would love to say that it was the military that caused my outbursts or that it was the ADHD always lingering untreated, but it wasn’t. It was a part of me that was waiting to be awakened for so long. I wasn’t happy at all in the military. I still get asked couldn’t you have just stuck it out. I hated who I had become in the military and I learned that from such an early stage of my time in the military. I would drag myself out of bed in the morning waiting to see how bad the day actually could get. I wasn’t happy and a piece of me set out to make other people as miserable as I was (misery loves company).
So what is the point of telling this story? That is a great question, I wanted to talk about this story and my massive screw up in this moment to warn others. ADHD is really easy to lose control of. We end up creating coping mechanisms throughout our lifetimes and it is really easy to fall off track when our emotions get hurt. I know it’s constantly said, but seriously, make sure that you are truly thinking before you do something. It is so easy to go out and try to hurt someone’s feelings, but it is much harder to make people feel wanted and needed. Ensure that you are taking care of yourself because if you are not taking care of yourself you are not going to be able to take care of others.
I have grown up a lot since this occurred, but we always have room for growth. Honestly I wish I could take back anything I ever said that was mean to Jane because Jane went through everything with me. When I was sad and alone in my room while in the military Jane was there to tell me that she was proud of me, but where was I when she needed me? Losing her friendship hurt so much and it was entirely my fault.
I never expect Jane to forgive me for the things that I have done, but I do want to say formally this, Jane I am sorry for the person that I was. I was a horrible person, and I wasn’t the person that you needed or deserved. I am sorry for starting arguments and never conceding even when I knew I was wrong. I am so sorry, and I hope that one day you see the man that I have become and know that I wouldn’t have made it without your friendship in high school.
Thank you for reading this. I know this was a longer post, but I had a lot that I wanted to get off of my chest this afternoon. I have been thinking about writing this one for a long time, but it took a bit of time to gain the courage to do it.